Nestled into a limestone recess high above the flood plain of Beaver Creek in the Verde Valley stands one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America. The five-story, 20-room cliff dwelling served as a "high-rise apartment building" for prehistoric Sinagua Indians over 600 years ago. Early settlers to the area assumed that the imposing structure was associated with the Aztec emperor Montezuma, but the castle was abandoned almost a century before Montezuma was born.
The Montezuma Castle Visitor Center contains exhibits depicting the life style of the Sinaguan Indians.
There is a level, paved trail 1/3 of a mile in length. Wayside exhibits along the self-guiding trail describe the cultural and natural history of the site. A diorama/audio program depicts the interior view of the cliff dwellings.
Montezuma Well is a detached unit of Montezuma Castle National Monument located approximately 11 miles from the park. Take Exit 293 from I-17 and drive four miles. There is a one-third mile loop trail. A lush, shaded picnic area is also located at the Well.
Montezuma Well is a limestone sink formed long ago by the collapse of an immense underground cavern. Over one and a half million gallons of water a day flow continuously, providing a lush, verdant oasis in the midst of surrounding desert grassland.
Prehistoric Hohokam and Sinaguan cultures took advantage of this source of water by irrigating crops of corn, beans, squash, and cotton. The rich riparian and surrounding uplands provided wildlife and native plants to supplement the agricultural products. Visitors to the site can still see traces of ancient lime encrusted irrigation ditches from past farming activity.
Adults (16 and over) - $5 (for 7 days)
Children (under 16) - Free
Montezuma Castle/Tuzigoot National Monuments Discount Pass - $8
Montezuma Castle is located 3 miles off Interstate 17. Use Exit Number 289 and follow signs.